Entrusted with the task of undoing four years of damage, Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh says the bickering that has ruined the sport is not very difficult to control and he is confident of professionalising the set-up with his corporate experience.
Singh, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director of Spicejet Airlines and is widely credited for turning around its fortunes, spoke to PTI about his vision for Indian boxing after being elected overwhelmingly for the BFI President's post last month.
"Sports in India seems to be more about its administrators and politicians and less about sportspersons. So I think it is worth an effort to professionalise it. And when I was told that there is this opportunity (in boxing), I thought it was worth a try," he said.
"So the idea is to make boxing as professionally managed as possible. I will make an honest effort, things have been very bad for Indian boxing in the last four years...So I will make the best possible effort that I can. And if I fail, I fail. I will try my best. That's all I can say," he added.
"I have zero vested interest here. There is nothing that I need to gain from this other than the satisfaction of the sport doing well. I have a corporate or what you can call a professional perspective. I really don't care about the infighting, it doesn't matter. Whatever has happened, has happened. We need to move forward and create the best possible system that we can."
A well-known entrepreneur, Singh said he decided to try his hand at sports administration after watching India's rather underwhelming performance at the Rio Olympics where the nation of over a billion finished with just a silver and a bronze.
Laying out his vision for Indian boxing, Singh said his focus would be on improving the infrastructure and ensuring best of training for not just boxers but also the coaches and technical officials.
"Firstly I want to put boxers themselves in front and center. I want that the sport should be about the boxers, about the coaches and the technical officials. We have to pay attention to them to make sure that they are well-trained, well-equipped and have the wherewithal to compete," he said.
"We need to create Centres of Excellence for Indian boxing. We need to use the best technology, best sports medicine. I would like to see the best possible infrastructure for boxing in India. And I would like to see that there are as many tournaments as possibly have.
"And lastly, I need to ensure that the boxing federation, much as in other sports, is on strong financial footing. We have to make sure that we commercialise the sport in the most professional manner and there are enough resources available for what we need to do," he said.
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